Friends of the Burke County Public Library are preparing for their fall book sale on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20 and 21.

"I'm guessing we'll have between 10,000 and 12,000 items in the sale," said Jim Wilson, director of the Burke County Public Library.

Wilson's work with the sale comes in the midst of renovations at the Valdese Public Library. Keep reading for more about the new wing and interior changes at this library.

As in the past, the used book sale will offer histories, biographies, fiction, science fiction, literature and classics and children's books, among other categories. Prices remain $1.50 for hardbacks, and 50 cents for paperbacks and children's books. Accepted payment is cash or check only.

The sale will be at the Collett Street Recreation Center in Morganton from 5-7:30 p.m. Friday for members of the Friends of the Library. Anyone may join the Friends at the door for as little as $5 per year for students or $10 per year for an individual. Family membership is $15 annually.

The Saturday sale hours are for the public and reflect a minor change from years past. Hours will be from 8:30 a.m. to noon. From 12:30 to 2 p.m., all shoppers are invited to the "bag sale" and may fill paper grocery bags or their own cloth and canvas totes with books for $5 per bag.

Funds raised through membership and book sales go to support library programs, such as the Summer Reading Program for children.

New this year, charitable nonprofit organizations may contact the library at 828-764-9260 to register for obtaining free books during the bag sale.

Our community continues to generously donate volumes to the library, and those that can't be used on the shelves either go to year-round library sales in Valdese, Hildebran or Morganton's Book Nook or to a trailer for storage behind the Morganton library until the next semiannual sale.

Coordinating the dozens of volunteers who prepare for and staff the event are book sale co-chairs, Billy Wright and Barbara Degen of Morganton.

» Valdese Library renovations

Wright said funds raised by the Friends help programs at all three libraries in Burke County, including Valdese Public Library, which will open its new 2,800 - square - foot wing in early to mid-November.

This will be the second major renovation since the 6,000 - sq uare- f oot library at 213 St. Germain SE was built in 1954. Wilson said the new space will house areas for programming and two study rooms.

"The work is almost done,” Wilson said. “We're starting this week on the interior renovation, which incorporates vinyl plank flooring, along with new shelving and new paint."

The new flooring is more durable and easier to maintain than carpet, Wilson said.

"The only section with carpet now will be the existing children's area," he said.

In addition, all the ceilings will be replaced and lighting will be LED, which is more energy efficient.

Wilson added that the demolition of the ceiling in the back may cause some distraction.

"There'll be some noise and disruption, but we'll stay open and available to the public as much as we can,” he said. “We'll try to keep any closures to an absolute minimum and give as much notice as we can."

The renovation has a $900,000 budget, including architecture plans and construction, and includes both outside and inside work. The Library Foundation gave $30,000 for furnishings and equipment.

Wilson said the front entrance will be redone due to wood rot and difficulty negotiating the two sets of doors. A new automatic metal door will be installed. What will happen to the beautiful stained glass at the entrance?

Wilson said not to worry.

"Nobody's going to touch the stained glass," he said.

Gwen Veazey is a member of the Morganton Writers Group.

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